The Powerful Black Women: Part 3


Yanla Vansant

Part 1 of this discussion of Guilt and Shame concentrated on reasons why women harbor guilt and shame which included: Past Experiences of Abuse or Trauma; Feelings that she has to be all things for everyone; and being Physically and Mentally oppressed.  These reasons keep women trapped which will ultimately jeopardize her health.

Still I Rise

Part 2 of this discussion was reasons to Let Go of Guilt and Shame that increases the risk for women to experience morbidity problems of: Anxiety; Depressed Moods; Self-loathing.  Holding on to guilt and shame can cause unwanted health concerns.  Guilt and Shame may appear that she is barring all things and keeping it all together to the outside world, but all the while jeopardizing her physical and mental health.

Finally Part 3: The Break-Through

There is a Misconception of Black Women that states:  To be Strong Black women suggests a superhuman trait rendering Black women capable and obligated to take on and handle all the burdens of the world (Walton & Oyewuwo-Gassikia, 2017).

Black Woman wrap

Strong Black women have gone through some stuff…

 The Powerful Black Woman

  • Recognizes that she has limits:
    • May not have the answers, out of control, emotionally spent, and powerless;
  • Recognizes when to solicit help from others:
    • Enlists a support system (family, friends, faith community, social resources);
  • Takes responsibility for her actions and completes the tasks:
    • Sets clear boundaries;
  • Finally, she shares her story!
    • Helping others by being transparent.




We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong;

and our prayer is that you may be fully restored.


Peace and Blessings!

By:  Kristen Pettaway, MA LPC Liberty University |

Clinical Case Manager Intern Destination Greatness, PLLC


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Walton, Q. L., & Oyewuwo-Gassikia, O. B. (2017). The case for #blackgirlmagic: Application  of a strengths-based, intersectional practice framework for working with black women with depression. Journal of Women and Social Work, 32(4), 461-475. doi:10.1177/0886109917712213

3 Reasons Women Harbor Guilt and Shame: Part 1


Yanla Vansant

For many women being all you can be is a struggle and a burden that is too heavy to bear.  In a time when women are wives, mothers, single mothers, working outside of the home and have demands from every corner there are some things that may fall by the wayside.  When this happens it can be so devastating to women that she begins to harbor guilt about not being able to do everything that she believes is expected of her.  The shame of not measuring up can also eat at her sense of self.  There are several reasons why women harbor guilt and shame but today let’s discuss these three:

  • Past Experiences of Abuse or Trauma
    • Many women have been victims of abuse.  Some have been abused from an early age.  The abuse could have even caused long-term trauma, or maybe the trauma was a witnessing of a horrible situation.

In these instances, women usually blame self for what happened.   The person who did the horrific thing has moved on but the individual who experienced it or witnessed it has held on to the guilt and shame of it.

Black Tears

  • Feelings of being all things to all people
    • This is an area that many women also struggle with.  It is in a woman’s nature to be nurturing so she wants to do what she can to help those she cares for.  The problem with that is that everyone who knows her will call on her to fix it, serve on the committee, drive the carpool, chaperone, or whatever it may be.

Busy Woman

Trying to help everyone is unrealistic causing her to feel that she is letting people down.  No one is able to be there for everybody.  That is unless you are Jesus, and I do not believe that you are.

  • Oppression
    • Women have been told for centuries that she is not good enough, pretty enough, educated enough, tough enough and will never measure up to her counterpart.  Women have been let down, stomped on, held back, and giving up on to the point when she feels that she is not worthy of any good thing or happiness.


That is what being oppressed can do.  It can devalue everything that God said was good in you.  When women listen to what the world has to say about them instead of what God says about them then she begins to harbor guilt and shame.

Being able to understand why women harbor guilt and shame can be the first step in rectifying the problem.  For those who need assistance in organizing your thoughts Destination Greatness is available to help you sort them out.

Until next time keep the faith!

By:  Kristen Pettaway, MA LPC Liberty University |

Clinical Case Manager Intern Destination Greatness, PLLC





7 Nuggets: Faith and Mental Health


Are your spiritual or religious beliefs hindering your mental well-being? For some, there seems to be a dichotomy between mental wellness and religion.  “Prayer changes everything.” “Mental illness manifests because of sin.” These prophecies will only further compound and complicate the real struggles that those whom live with mental health challenges experience.  Mental health challenges are just as real as physical health challenges.

Faith Without Works is Dead.

Churches and other places of worship should take a more prominent role in the discussion, advocacy, and action as it pertains to dismantling the mental health stigma. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness. Thus, in any given congregation, you will have many that have experienced a mental health challenge.

A Candid Conversation

I recently had the opportunity to present on the topic “Faith and Mental Health” at Mt.Pisgah I.M.C. in Clyo, GA. Our candid conversation included a discussion of what mental health challenges are, what mental health challenges look like, and triggers of mental health challenges.


Are you ready to commence the conversation on role of faith and the church in addressing mental health challenges?

7 Tips to Improve Your Faith and Mental Health

  1. Keep God first.
  2. Forgive yourself.
  3. Seek professional help.
  4. Make the decision to be happy.
  5. Engage in self-care.
  6. Never give up.
  7. Turn your pain into purpose.


Professional Services

As a psychotherapist, I understand the many challenges those experiencing a mental illness encounter including shame, a lack of support, and denial. You are not alone.

Destination Greatness also offers convenient, confidential online and telephone therapy to residents of NC, SC, and GA. No insurance required. Limited office sessions available in Atlanta, GA and Greenville, SC.

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To arrange a confidential, online or telephone session, schedule your appointment online at


This young lady speaks from the heart and with God on her side. Give her your ear to receive a much needed word of encouragement.-Sebrena Holmes Gibson

For speaking engagements, contact